Patents Examined by Jack W. Keith
  • Patent number: 10770187
    Abstract: Nuclear fuel elements may include: a fuel zone including fuel particles disposed in parallel layers in a matrix including graphite powder; and a shell comprising graphite and surrounding the fuel zone. The fuel particles may include fissile particles, burnable poison particles, breeder particles, or a combination thereof. The fuel zone may include a central region and a peripheral region surrounding the central region, and a fuel particle density of the peripheral region may be greater than a fuel particle density of the central region.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 9, 2017
    Date of Patent: September 8, 2020
    Assignee: X-ENERGY, LLC
    Inventors: Peter Pappano, Martin Van Staden
  • Patent number: 10764987
    Abstract: The present invention relates, in particular, to a method for generating neutrons comprising at least the series of steps that consists of: a) placing at least one beam of electrons and at least one beam of nuclei selected from among protons, deuterons and tritons into a predefined spin state and/or an interference state; and b) causing said at least one beam of nuclei and said at least one beam of electrons to collide.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 25, 2010
    Date of Patent: September 1, 2020
    Assignee: NEUSCA SAS
    Inventors: Arash Mofakhami, Tarek Nassar
  • Patent number: 10755829
    Abstract: A device that will enable material to be irradiated as needed to produce a desired transmutation product inside the core of a nuclear reactor. The device provides a means for monitoring neutron flux in the vicinity of the material being irradiated to allow determination of the amount of transmutation product being produced. The device enables the irradiated material to be inserted into the reactor and held in place at desired axial positions and to be withdrawn from the reactor when desired without shutting down the reactor. The majority of the device may be re-used for subsequent irradiations. The device also enables the simple and rapid attachment of unirradiated target material to the portion of the device that transmits the motive force to insert and withdraw the target material into and out of the reactor and the rapid detachment of the irradiated material from the device for processing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 14, 2016
    Date of Patent: August 25, 2020
    Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
    Inventors: Michael D. Heibel, Matthew D. McArdle
  • Patent number: 10755826
    Abstract: Provided is an apparatus for generating electricity, mechanical energy, and/or process and district heat using a gas propellant chamber fueled with fissile material and enclosed in a sealed containment vessel which also contains an operating gas. The system allows for the operating gas to be compressed as it enters the nuclear fuel chamber where it is heated. As the operating gas exits the nuclear fuel chamber, the kinetic energy of the gas is converted to rotational energy by a variety of methods. The rotational energy is further converted to electricity, mechanical energy, and/or process and district heat. The operating gas circulates in the containment vessel and is cooled prior to re-entering the gas propellant chamber. The apparatus thereby provides a simpler and safer design that is both scalable and adaptable. The apparatus is easily and safely transportable and can be designed to be highly nuclear-proliferation-resistant.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 10, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 25, 2020
    Assignee: NuGen, LLC
    Inventors: Stephen K. Rhyne, Pavel V. Tsvetkov
  • Patent number: 10755820
    Abstract: A method of using an ICF chamber may include causing a target in the ICF chamber to emit x-ray radiation; receiving the x-ray radiation through a plurality of holes in a wall of the ICF chamber; and absorbing the x-ray radiation in a gas contained in a plurality of tubes that are coupled to the plurality of holes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 23, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 25, 2020
    Inventors: Conner D. Galloway, Alexander V. Valys, Robert O. Hunter, Jr., David H. Sowle
  • Patent number: 10734127
    Abstract: A method of producing radionuclides from irradiation targets in a nuclear reactor uses at least one instrumentation tube system of a commercial nuclear reactor. Irradiation targets and dummy targets are inserted into an instrumentation finger and the irradiation targets are activated by exposing them to neutron flux in the nuclear reactor core to form a radionuclide. The dummy targets hold the irradiation targets at a predetermined axial position in the reactor core corresponding to a pre-calculated neutron flux density sufficient for converting the irradiation targets to the radionuclide. Separating the dummy targets from the activated irradiation targets includes exposure to a magnetic field to retain either the dummy targets or the activated irradiation targets in the instrumentation tube system and release the other one of the activated irradiation target or the dummy target from the instrumentation tube system. An apparatus adapted to the above method is also provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 30, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 4, 2020
    Assignee: Framatome GmbH
    Inventors: Thomas Fabian Richter, Alexander Sykora, Lothar Wistuba
  • Patent number: 10734125
    Abstract: A vacuum micro-electronics device that utilizes fissile material capable of using the existing neutron leakage from the fuel assemblies of a nuclear reactor to produce thermal energy to power the heater/cathode element of the vacuum micro-electronics device and a self-powered detector emitter to produce the voltage/current necessary to power the anode/plate terminal of the vacuum micro-electronics device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 1, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 4, 2020
    Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
    Inventors: Jorge V. Carvajal, Michael D. Heibel, Lyman J. Petrosky, Tim M. Crede, Robert W. Flammang
  • Patent number: 10734122
    Abstract: A dynamic neutron reflector assembly for a “breed-and-burn” fast reactor incrementally adjusts neutron spectrum and reactivity in a reactor core. The composition of materials in the dynamic neutron reflector may be adjusted to change neutron reflectivity levels, or to introduce neutron moderating or absorption characteristics. The dynamic neutron reflector may contain a flowing reflecting liquid of adjustable volume and/or density. Submergible members may be selectively inserted into the flowing reflecting liquid to alter its volume and introduce other neutron modifying effects such as moderation or absorption. Selective insertion of the submergible members allows for concentration of the neutron modifying effects in a selected portion of the reactor core. The flowing reflecting liquid may also act as a secondary coolant circuit by exchanging heat with the molten fuel salt.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 2016
    Date of Patent: August 4, 2020
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Anselmo T. Cisneros, Jr., Charles Gregory Freeman, Christopher J. Johns, Kevin Kramer, Jeffery F. Latkowski
  • Patent number: 10732306
    Abstract: A slow neutron detection device is disclosed, comprising: a first slow neutron converter and a second slow neutron converter, and a readout electrode wire set and cathode wire sets arranged between the first slow neutron converter and the second slow neutron converter. By arranging a readout circuit between the two slow neutron converters, an electron drift distance is reduced by half without changing a dimension of the detection device, and an average over-threshold probability of a signal is increased.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 11, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 4, 2020
    Assignees: Nuctech Company Limited, Tsingchua University
    Inventors: Yigang Yang, Yuanjing Li, Zhujun Fang, Yulan Li
  • Patent number: 10726960
    Abstract: A coolant injection system for a nuclear power generation system includes the coolant injection system, and method of operation of the coolant injection system. The nuclear power generation system includes a reactor pressure vessel having a reactor core, a pressuriser in fluid communication with the reactor pressure vessel, and the injection system, which comprises a make-up tank having a tank inlet and a tank outlet. The injection system has an operating condition, and a fault response condition, and is configured to switch between these conditions when coolant level in the pressuriser drops below a threshold level. In the operating condition, the tank outlet is isolated from the reactor pressure vessel such that coolant is retained in the make-up tank, and the tank inlet is in fluid communication with the reactor pressure vessel and the pressuriser.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 9, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 28, 2020
    Assignee: Rolls-Royce Power Engineering plc
    Inventor: Benjamin J. Ireland
  • Patent number: 10726961
    Abstract: In conjunction with a pressurized water reactor (PWR) and a pressurizer configured to control pressure in the reactor pressure vessel, a decay heat removal system comprises a pressurized passive condenser, a turbine-driven pump connected to suction water from at least one water source into the reactor pressure vessel; and steam piping configured to deliver steam from the pressurizer to the turbine to operate the pump and to discharge the delivered steam into the pressurized passive condenser. The pump and turbine may be mounted on a common shaft via which the turbine drives the pump. The at least one water source may include a refueling water storage tank (RWST) and/or the pressurized passive condenser. A pressurizer power operated relief valve may control discharge of a portion of the delivered steam bypassing the turbine into the pressurized passive condenser to control pressure in the pressurizer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 29, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 28, 2020
    Assignee: BWXT mPower, Inc.
    Inventor: Thomas G. Graham
  • Patent number: 10726962
    Abstract: A nuclear reactor system that, in one embodiment, utilizes natural circulation to circulate a primary coolant in a single-phase through a reactor core and a heat exchange sub-system. The heat exchange subsystem is located outside of the nuclear reactor pressure vessels and, in some embodiments, is designed so as to not cause any substantial pressure drop in the flow of the primary coolant within the heat exchange sub-system that is used to vaporize a secondary coolant. In another embodiment, a nuclear reactor system is disclosed in which the reactor core is located below ground and all penetrations into the reactor pressure vessel are located above ground.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 24, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 28, 2020
    Assignee: SMR INVENTEC, LLC
    Inventors: Krishna P. Singh, P. Stephan Anton, Ranga Nadig, Indresh Rampall
  • Patent number: 10720247
    Abstract: A nuclear reactor power regulator adjusts reactor output based on a reactor output target value and a reactor output change rate. The regulator includes a reactor output calculating device that performs computation based on a thermal equilibrium from power signals of plant parameters to calculate a reactor output signal. A correcting device corrects a continuously obtained reactor output equivalent signal that is considered to be equivalent to a reactor output at a calculation interval of the output signal, so that the output equivalent signal coincides with the output signal. The correcting device calculates a continuous corrected output equivalent signal. A reactor output controlling device calculates a reactor output control signal for controlling the output of the reactor, using the corrected reactor output equivalent signal, the reactor output target value, and the reactor output change rate. A reactor output controller is operated based on the reactor output control signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 28, 2013
    Date of Patent: July 21, 2020
    Inventors: Naoyuki Takado, Hiroshi Hosono
  • Patent number: 10720246
    Abstract: An improved retention system for retaining fuel rods in a fuel assembly is disclosed. The retention system includes a plurality of first engagement surfaces on the bottom nozzle of a fuel assembly. There is at least one engagement surface for each fuel rod. A second engagement surface is formed on the bottom end plug of each fuel rod. The first and second engagement surfaces are configured for engagement with each other for axially and laterally retaining each fuel rod within the fuel assembly. Debris deflectors may also be provided to deflect debris from coolant channels surrounding the fuel rods.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 21, 2020
    Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
    Inventors: Jeffrey M. McCarty, Nathan J. Payne, Kirkland D. Broach
  • Patent number: 10720254
    Abstract: A system and process for the photo-nuclear production of 67Cu using mainly the 71Ga (?, ?)67Cu reaction. The system and process uses a high energy electron beam, with or without a radiator, in order to isotopically convert at least a portion of a liquid 71Ga target to 67Cu.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 23, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 21, 2020
    Inventors: Pavel V. Degtiarenko, Giorgi Kharashvili
  • Patent number: 10714220
    Abstract: A method of making a fuel channel for a fuel assembly for a nuclear power boiling water reactor. The method includes providing at least one first sheet of a Zr-based material of a first thickness, and providing at least one second sheet of a Zr-based material of a second thickness which is less than said first thickness. It also includes assembling at least said at least one first sheet and said at least one second sheet, such that a fuel channel is formed and such that said at least one first sheet forms a lower part of the fuel channel. The at least one second sheet forms a higher part of the fuel channel and the lower part is joined with said higher part. The lower part constitutes 20-75% of the length of the fuel channel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 13, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 14, 2020
    Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB
    Inventors: Anders Söderlund, Markus Månsson
  • Patent number: 10706975
    Abstract: An operating floor confinement has an operating floor, a sidewall that surrounds the operating floor, a ceiling that is provided on an upper portion of the sidewall, a reactor well, a fuel pool, a dryer and separator pit, an equipment hatch that is provided on the sidewall, an air lock that is provided on the sidewall, and an isolation valve that is provided in a penetration line. The operating floor confinement forms a pressure boundary having pressure resistance and a leakage protection function. The operating floor confinement is separated from an equipment area of the reactor building and has no blowout panel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 25, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 7, 2020
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba
    Inventors: Takashi Sato, Keiji Matsumoto, Keisuke Taguchi
  • Patent number: 10706983
    Abstract: A method of producing an integrated circuit-type active radioisotope battery, the method comprising exposing at least a portion of an electronically functional, unactivated integrated circuit-type battery to radiation to convert transmutable material in the unactivated battery to a radioisotope thereby producing an active cell and thus the integrated circuit-type active radioisotope battery.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 13, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 7, 2020
    Assignee: The Curators of the University of Missouri
    Inventors: Jae Wan Kwon, John Michel Gahl, Bradley Ryan Nullmeyer
  • Patent number: 10706978
    Abstract: There is provided a core of a boiling water reactor that can be operated without loading a new fuel assembly at an operation cycle before decommissioning. The core of the boiling water reactor includes multiple fuel assemblies loaded in a square lattice shape. The multiple fuel assemblies are arranged in the core based on the number of residence cycles of fuel assemblies laterally adjacent and longitudinally adjacent to a fuel assembly having the shortest loading period in core cross section. The arrangement of fuel assemblies is also based on the number of residence cycles of fuel assemblies diagonally adjacent to the fuel assembly having the shortest loading period.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 18, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 7, 2020
    Assignee: Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Ltd.
    Inventors: Michitaka Ono, Motoo Aoyama, Takeshi Mitsuyasu
  • Patent number: 10706979
    Abstract: Exemplary embodiments provide automated nuclear fission reactors and methods for their operation. Exemplary embodiments and aspects include, without limitation, controlling a propagating nuclear deflagration wave within a burning wavefront heat generating region, moveable neutron modifying structures, variable burn-up, programmable nuclear thermostats, fast flux irradiation, temperature-driven surface area/volume ratio neutron absorption, low coolant temperature cores, refueling, and the like.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 24, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 7, 2020
    Assignee: TERRAPOWER, LLC.
    Inventors: Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Lowell L. Wood, Jr.